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BBC TV's show - Greatest Dancer - (talent competition)

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We were hoping not!  🤣

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After the audience looked stony faced at the male dancer doing that lovely technically highly accomplished solo (can't remember the ballet argh - it was the one Nureyev brought to the West from Russia wasn't it), and then voted for the appalling frestyle "dancer" (not a word I'd use to describe him), I came straight here to see what you all were saying!

 

Don't think I'll bother with this programme.

 

But what is WRONG with the audience in not recognising the skill of the classical dancer & voting through that young girl who did a series of disconnected acrobatics? I wouldn't call it dancing ...

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Which is exactly why I won’t be watching it.  You just know it’s going to have nothing to do with dancing as we know it!

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Mind you I’ve just watched Andrew, a young man with Downs Syndrome, who was an incredible dancer ! 

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Caught just the last 15 minutes on coming home - much as feared from the trailers - and it seemed cut short.  No idea why some of each performance was behind a screen/curtain.  Generally, very noisy.

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Just in case anyone wandered in here thinking this might be a historical discussion about great dancers, this thread (slightly oddly titled, maybe a mod could adjust?) is concerned with an allegedly popular BBC television series called “The Greatest Dancer”. As I am currently out of the UK I had to look this up to work out what people are talking about. 

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Thanks Jan....that makes it pretty clear!  

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Posted (edited)

Somewhat outraged by the title, I watched out of curiosity and offer the following thoughts:

  • people love dancing or watching dancing
  • the audience is clearly affected, and therefore votes, by what 'moves' them
  • the familiarity of the music is significant
  • numerous other personal/sentimental factors come into play

All this is recognisable among ballet-lovers.

 

The noticeable difference from the way those of us who love ballet view things is that more widespread judgements/expectations have been dramaticlly (re)-shaped by 'Strictly' and social media. Being tricksy and showy counts and there is no real concept of what constitutes 'quality' (although the classical dancer was not exactly the best representation of the genre!).

 

I know that appreciation of ballet has always been a minority interest among the population at large but it does go to show what an uphill struggle it faces to make any real 'breakthrough' (or maybe, in the longer term, even to survive).

 

 

 

Edited by capybara
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Here's the BBC website:

 

The Greatest Dancer

 

And I was also somewhat startled by the "Cheryl in the Royal Ballet" comment: I looked her up on Wikipedia, and she attended a RBS summer school at age 9. Not a mean feat, according to the difficulties discussed in "Doing Dance" of being accepted.

 

But still ...

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Posted (edited)

I have not watched the programme and do not intend to do so. I think it a great shame that something which sounds so tawdry will be added to the tally of the BBC's dance output for the year. The problem is not simply that the BBC has become wedded to the knock out competition format, although that is a major factor, but that ballet performances no longer have any sort of foothold in its annual arts schedule. Ballet, if it is covered at all, now seems to be more likely to be served up in the form of a short interview, a documentary with input from Britain's " greatest and most loved ballerina" or Ms Rojo  or a programme in which a senior, usually former, dancer is given celebrity treatment and invited to talk about  music and their careers on Private Passions or, for the really well known, is given the opportunity to be cast away alone on Roy Plomley's desert island.

 

The Beeb seems to have real problems with fulfilling its charter duty to educate when it comes to the arts and even more of a problem when it comes to "elite" art forms.  I suppose that it manages its classical music output quite well as it does broadcast a lot of it but the fact that it is largely confined  to its arts silo Radio 3 suggests that it is afraid that the unsuspecting listener or viewer might become contaminated by contact with elite arts. It is alarming how marginal ballet has become when compared to that other elite art form opera which with live radio relays from the Met and the occasional transmission from the ROH maintains a significant profile with music lovers. I was too young to have known about it but I think it unlikely that the BBC will ever find itself putting on a special programme about a ballet revival as they did when the RB first revived Nijinska's Les Noces and Ashton and Nabokov were invited into the studio to discuss the work's significance.

 

This year's transmission of an entire ballet was most unexpected as it seemed that this, one time staple of Christmas television, had gone the same way as the annual television pantomime and the annual airing of Holiday Inn. I hope that this year's transmission of Swan Lake was not a one off but means  that the Royal Ballet, if not the entire ROH organisation, has come to realise that cinema streaming of performances may maintain the company's following and that of ballet in general but that these screenings are more likely to be seen by those who already know about ballet rather than creating converts to the art form. It would be good to think that  this transmission might mean a resumption of the annual full ballet performance  and closer ties between the company and the BBC although I hold out no great hopes given the Beeb's commitment to more popular formats and "art" forms. Please note I am not asking for the coverage of opera to be reduced but why does opera get so much better coverage than ballet ? Is it any more of a marginal artform than opera ? I go to both because I enjoy them but I suspect that the national obsession with class and status is a factor in the level of institutional support in airtime which each receives from the BBC. The fact that a number of country house opera companies have sprung up in the last couple of decade or so suggests that going to the opera is seen by some to confer a certain sort of social cache ; attending a Ring Cycle seems to confer a level intellectual superiority which going to a canary fancier's opera such as Lucia or going to  Puccini's  Tosca or Madame Butterfly does not but even attending such popular operas seems to count for more than going to the ballet. I wonder whether if you measured interest in ballet and opera by the volume of ticket sales would there be much difference between the two and if you were to add in all those children who go to ballet classes and their immediate families who support that interest might not the following for ballet prove to be the larger by some margin?  

 

 I think that Kate_N has already answered her own question and explained why the audience responded so negatively to the classical style dancing and so positively to a completely different style of movement when she applied the word "acrobatic" to the style which found favour with the audience. People who know nothing about classical dancing tend to be unimpressed by movements which they assume to be easy because they are executed with elegance and ease. Even those who know something about it often seem to be more impressed with a movement which looks difficult  than one which is difficult but has been made to look almost normal and natural through art and great technical skill . I found an amusing example of this on a French dance website a couple of years ago when someone in all seriousness was describing the suitability of the roles of Lise and Colas for inexperienced young dancers who were not yet ready for more demanding classical roles because the choreography of Ashton's Fille was so undemanding.

 

The fact that the uninitiated will be impressed by physical movements which are difficult or appear to be so should come as no surprise. There is evidence that even those who know something about ballet are generally more impressed by extremes and asymmetry thus the ear clipping arabesque and the extreme overstretched body gain more approval than the perfectly poised classical body in arabesque will do. Hence the theory that Fonteyn was not much of a dancer because she " does not do anything". Obviously she was foolish to continue dancing in a style derived from the pre -revolutionary Russian school which concerned itself with the aristocratic aesthetic style of elegance and effortlessness in which you don't spend almost as long signalling your preparation to perform a step as you do in dancing it. It is the difference between the St Petersburg aristocratic audience's expectations and those of a less sophisticated Moscow one. In the event Moscow with its love of obvious bravura and circus won the aesthetic battle. This explains the shift in the aesthetics of classical ballet in Russia after the Revolution from one based on the ideal of aristocratic elegant ease to a style which incorporated and emphasised the acrobatic which appealed to its new uninitiated audience drawn from the proletariat. A shift in aesthetic style which led  Danilova to describe the Soviet style of dancing in her memoirs as a " display of dance" rather than "dance". 

Edited by FLOSS
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I knew it would be a non starter when Cheryl announced at the beginning that she was once a ballerina!.....What? Missed her when she was a ballerina then!

I hate these shows where the audience in the studio votes. At least on Strictly the audience votes at home so don't get all this hysterical noisy reaction all the time.

Ballet is a minority Art but like Fine Art I don't think it's going to die out because a minority of the population appreciate it.

In ordinary schools it's things like Street Dance which has more cred and so anyone taking classes locally is likely to be doing this or similar so parents are more familiar with this than they are with ballet.

I think this is for a £50,000 prize.....the judges seriously need to think who is most likely to benefit from this money ....very few I saw....though won't be watching again....will ever make it as dancers ....the boy in the gold shirt was just a joke ...sorry.

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Posted (edited)

Terrible program. 😅😅 Nothing to do with "great" dancers at all. Where oh where did there dredge up the "audience" - highly dubious judgement!! I won't waste my time watching again. The most skilful dancer was canned by an ignorant audience - though he was a bit odd!! and as for the mentor/captain ?? Who was IN the Royal Ballet 😁😁 really?? When?? How?? Lies perhaps??

Edited by jules_skichick
Add missing word

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This show should be retitled The Greatest Disaster.  The BBC has sunk to a new low.  I watched expecting to ignore the usual stuff you get from Simon Cowell vehicles, but with some dancing thrown in.  What we got was an unclear format in which ‘judges’ acted as cheerleaders and pronounced everyone awesome  told them that they smashed it, interspersed with asides from people I care nothing about in the audience.  There was little dancing of any sort: mostly because the contestants had been chosen for their blubfest value and also because the cameraman seemed to have been briefed to ignore what was on the stage.

 

For me it was a new low in entertainment, a window on how the BBC views its audience whom it obviously considers to be moronic with an attention span of three seconds.  Every contestant had a ‘dead grandmother’ story and was accompanied by an adoring partner who assured us that the would-be dancer had been practising for...months.   As for the non-judging judges, the lady from Strictly demonstrated that she should stick to dancing, the bloke said little and Cheryl  made much use of the word technical which she applied to anybody who did more than shuffle.  I am unclear exactly when she was in the Royal Ballet but presumed she was too young then to be looking for a husband which is presumably why she agreed to do this show.

 

Probably the worst thing I’ve ever watched.

 

 

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Cheryl was never at the Royal Ballet School apart from for summer school. 

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47 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

 

Probably the worst thing I’ve ever watched.

 

 

As someone who won't watch any program that has a public vote on anything I'd class as art (and yes, that includes Strictly), I'm particularly happy to have dodged this one. 🙂

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I think you've only got to look at how the BBC has dumbed down serious competitions like Young Musician, Leeds Piano and Cardiff Singer to see how they regard the arts as shown on TV. All three competitions were once given excellent coverage, all we get now is little snippets interspersed with pointless interviews and scraps of film that probably cost a great deal and add nothing to the quality of the competitors' performance. Sorry if I sound sour! 

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I was in no way impressed. I'm primarily a tapper/jazz dancer and the tap duo didn't do anything actually technically demanding in terms of tap choreography and the "contemporary" girl seemed to be doing a copy of what we see on the internet without any understanding of the technique, flow and history of the style. The Street dance group made me cringe so much; they were out of sync and they clearly hasn't cleaned head/arm/eyelines.

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Don't blame you ninamargaret.

It seems now that anything 'educational' on TV (not just the BBC) is aimed at pre-O'level (showing my age there), rather than at anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of anything. Science programs suffer the same way (though this year's RI Christmas lectures on BBC4 , whilst aimed at knowledgeable children, was a step forward in not treating them like the dunces in the class). There is a dire lack of good documentaries pushing forward knowledge to viewers who may already know a fair bit about what's being shown. Its almost as if anyone with knowledge/experience/a brain wouldn't watch TV therefore we don't need to cater for them. So they don't

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Hello WavingThroughAWindow and welcome out of the lurking shadows!

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

I think you've only got to look at how the BBC has dumbed down serious competitions like Young Musician, Leeds Piano and Cardiff Singer to see how they regard the arts as shown on TV. All three competitions were once given excellent coverage, all we get now is little snippets interspersed with pointless interviews and scraps of film that probably cost a great deal and add nothing to the quality of the competitors' performance. Sorry if I sound sour! 

 

Off topic, but I've found the best coverage of Cardiff is on BBC Radio Wales, which is both informative for specialist and general audience alike, as well as being great fun. It beats the BBC R3 and TV coverage hands down IMO - for starters it's presented by singers with real operatic careers who know their onions, not the strange assortment of people no-one has heard of that BBC TV engages.

Edited by Lizbie1
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I was out last night, and if I hadn't been I suppose I might have watched this programme just in case. I'm now very glad I was out!! It sounds positively dire.

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The programme made me want to poke my eyes out it was so awful😂 apart from young Andrew who danced with grace and such joy . If Cheryl has been in “the Royal Ballet “ then so have I !!! ( well I’ve been inside White Lodge so that must count surely 😂 )  ha ha 

I will not be tuning in next week .

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3 minutes ago, abitwornout said:

The programme made me want to poke my eyes out it was so awful😂 apart from young Andrew who danced with grace and such joy . If Cheryl has been in “the Royal Ballet “ then so have I !!! ( well I’ve been inside White Lodge so that must count surely 😂 )  ha ha 

I will not be tuning in next week .

 

You'd think the RB wouldn't be thrilled with someone claiming to have been in the company (or the school) when they haven't.

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9 minutes ago, abitwornout said:

If Cheryl has been in “the Royal Ballet “ then so have I !!! ( well I’ve been inside White Lodge so that must count surely 😂 )  ha ha 

 

 

I went to the Royal Ballet Upper School...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...for an insight event. 🤣😂

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3 minutes ago, Thalia said:

 

I went to the Royal Ballet Upper School...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...for an insight event. 🤣😂

Ha ha brilliant, you can be a judge on “The Greatest Dancer” .................

 

 

 

with me 😁👍🏻😂

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